Facebook has chosen architect Frank Gehry to design the interiors of its relocated and expanded international offices in London and Dublin. This commission comes just a few weeks after Gehry was hired with Foster + Partners for the London Battersea Power Station redevelopment, his first project in the United Kingdom capital. The new Gehry-designed offices in the Irish and UK capital cities will provide current staff with double the square footage and allow for an increase in hired employees. Facebook London will move its headquarters to occupy three floors of 10 Brock Street. The Regent’s Place building gives Gehry 86,000 square feet of space for office design. This move will also situate the company in the same building as social media rival Twitter and only a short distance away from Google’s headquarters at King’s Cross. In Dublin, Facebook’s new digs will provide up to 1,000 employees with 114,000 square feet of office space in Grand Canal Square. Gehry began designing for the social media company last year when he was hired to create a new Menlo Park campus in California's Silicon Valley. More recently, he continued work for the brand in a redesign of engineering team offices in New York City's Astor Place.
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Just west of Los Angeles, a relaxed beach town on the California coast has recently received some major architecture news headlines. In 2013, some of the biggest firms in the country, from OMA to Gehry Partners, have set their sights on development projects in Santa Monica, planning to raise the skyline and increase the architectural density of the city. Not everyone is happy about this attention, though. This week, Curbed LA reports that the Wilmont Neighborhood Coalition, a group of Santa Monica residents from the high profile neighborhood from Wilshire Boulevard to Montana Avenue, have called for a moratorium on all development plans in the city. With a unanimous vote at their annual meeting, the group pleaded with the City Council to stop architectural projects in Santa Monica until the solidification of a zoning ordinance next year. According to a survey funded by the Huntley Hotel in downtown Santa Monica (whose owner is also a coalition board member), the group’s main complaint is the increase in traffic and the decrease in parking space that would be caused by city developments. The City Council’s Planning Committee will see a Zoning Ordinance Update on their agenda in a few weeks, but a decision on new building regulation in the city would not be reached until possibly late 2014. These Wilmont neighbors do not think that is soon enough to prevent the vehicular overcrowding they fear. Sending a symbolic vote of no confidence to City Hall, the Neighborhood Coalition has proposed a resolution that not only pauses all Santa Monica development agreements until the zoning decision but also introduces the adoption of a Downtown Specific Plan that would set a maximum height on projects in the downtown area. So far, the coalition’s objection has not had an impact on any current projects.
Frank Gehry and Foster + Partners have been selected to design the third phase of the mixed-use Battersea Power Station development in London, which includes a retail pedestrian street that serves as the entryway to the complex. Gehry and Foster will collaborate on the High Street section, and each firm will design residential buildings on the east and west sides, respectively. This will be Gehry’s first building in London. He will approach the project with the “goal to help create a neighborhood and a place for people to live that respects the iconic Battersea Power Station while connecting it into the broader fabric of the city.” The iconic Battersea Power Station has captured the imagination of everyone from furniture designers to rock stars. Take a look below at AN's roundup of 12 of the most amazing Battersea Power Station photos.
Over a star-studded semi-finalist list of Western architects, Pritztker-Prize winning French architect Jean Nouvel has been awarded the commission to design the world’s largest art museum: the new National Art Museum of China in Beijing. The 130,000 square meters NAMOC building is intended to exhibit works by 20th-century and traditional artists from worldwide. The Financial Times reported earlier this year that Jean Nouvel’s design idea as that of a single ink brushstroke, a concept of traditional Chinese art and calligraphy. With sweeping glass and a reflective facade, the museum’s exterior takes obvious inspiration from the art visitors will encounter within its walls. The winning design’s facade makes up a tangible interpretation of a brushstroke. Pierced stone screens and streaked patterned glass create a varied, yet continuous exterior. Shimmering and semi-transparent, the surface allows for a blotted reflection of the colors and shapes of the surrounding dragon-shaped garden and sea of red flags. The building touches the ground only at four points, sweeping upwards in its center as if the artist had a vertical inspiration. In this phenomenon, Nouvel has envisioned two different leveled lobbies for entrance to the museum. The summer lobby on the ground floor is exposed to the elements, surrounded by nature. But, in winter months it can be closed off and visitors enter through the first floor, protected from the elements yet surrounded by semi-transparent glass walls that give visions of what’s outside. After entering the competition in December 2010, Jean Nouvel's design was set on a shortlist of twenty, then narrowed down to five, alongside Hadid, Gehry, Herzog & de Meuron (who withdrew), and Safide. Although there was some speculation for a winner after Gehry Partners released their design renderings to the public for a current exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Jean Nouvel’s highly coveted win was later confirmed by his advisor, Olivier Schmitt. The museum will be located in Olympic Park adjacent to the Ai Wei Wei-designed Bird's Nest Stadium from the 2008 Olympics. The Chinese government has made no official comment on the commission decision or a timeline for construction.
October is upon us, which means that the Chicago edition of Facades+ PERFORMANCE is only a few weeks away! Be there as leading innovators from across the AEC industry converge on Chicago from October 24th and 25th at AN and Enclos' highly anticipated event to discuss the cutting-edge processes and technologies behind the facades of today’s most exciting built projects. Don't miss your chance to take part in our groundbreaking lineup of symposia, keynotes, and workshops, and work side-by-side with the design and construction visionaries who are redefining performance for the next generation of building envelopes. Our Early Bird special has been extended until Wednesday, so register today to save on this unbeatable opportunity! Join Neil Meredith of Gehry Technolgies as he examine the relationship between digital design methodologies and real-world construction and fabrication constraints in the complex, wooden ceiling of the Burj Khalifa’s lobby. With representatives from Thornton Tomasetti and Imperial Woodworking, Meredith will lead an intimate, interdisciplinary discussion of the innovative, on-site solutions that his team developed in order to deliver one of the most visible features of the world’s tallest building, so don’t miss out on this rare opportunity! With the deadline fast approaching, Mederith and his team at Gehry Technoligies worked with SOM, Imperial Woodworking, and Icon Integrated Construction to develop new systems, mid-construction, for the design and fabrication of the large, double-curved, wooden ceiling of the Burj Khalifa. Coordinating the work of architects, fabricators, and construction professionals through complex, shared parametric models, Meredith redesigned the ceiling system from the ground up using pre-fabricated, unitized panels to create its astounding, wooden forms. Join in the discussion to hear the rest of this dramatic AEC industry saga in the not-to-be-missed dialog workshop, “Designing for Wood Fabrication in Complex Geometries: The Burh Khalifa Ceiling,” and learn the technologies and techniques behind the creation of this historic project. After earning his Masters in Architecture from Univeristy of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Neil Meredith taught and ran the Digital Fabrication Lab at his alma mater. Meredith earned hands-on experience with cutting edge design technologies and real-world construction challenges with Detroit-based design/build firm M1, the European Ceramic Workcentere in Holland, façade consulting office Front, and as founding partner of design and fabrication studio Sheet. In 2007 Meredith joined up with Gehry Technologies, the go-to design technology and consulting company for the industry’s leading architects. Through the pioneering use of the latest digital tools and processes, Gehry Technolgies has worked with world-class, visionary architects, like Zaha Hadid, David Childs, Jean Nouvel, and of course Mr. Gehry himself, to triumph in the realization of the truly innovative forms of some of the era’s most ground-breaking projects. Register for Facades+ PERFORMANCE today to take part in this and other exciting workshops and symposia. Featuring representatives from SOM, Morphosis, Thornton Tomasetti, and other industry-leading firms, this is one event that is not to be missed. Check out the full Facades+ PERFORMANCE site for the schedule of events and book your tickets now to start the next chapter in your professional career!
[ Editor's Note: The following is a reader-submitted comment from the AN Blog in response to the post, “Gehry Lets Loose on Los Angeles, Downtown Ambitions,” which cites an interview Frank Gehry did with Los Angeles Magazine. It appeared as a letter to the editor in a recent print edition, AN07_08.14.2013. Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. ] The only thing that makes Los Angeles unique is that so much of it was built during the auto era (albeit on an infrastructural framework established during the interurban rail era). Different parts of Los Angeles were developed in a manner that was identical to how other cities across North America were being developed at the same time. The same succession of transportation, construction, and development technologies created a downtown in Los Angeles that is nearly indistinguishable from portions of San Francisco, Chicago, and Manhattan. The fact that the city also has linear urban spaces, such as along Wilshire, does not make Los Angeles unique nor incompatible with the sort of transit-oriented, mixed-use urban living that has been thriving for over a decade in our major cities. “Linear Downtowns” such as Wilshire are not currently pedestrian “friendly.” The scale and velocity of such spaces have long been attuned to the auto. The city could use focus on retooling these areas to serve both motorists and pedestrians. The Purple line extension will be an important step. I do not think anyone is suggesting that we abandon the automobile or the spaces it has created, but Los Angeles’ downtown will continue to become a better place as more people choose the lifestyle that level of density affords. For decades, all development in Los Angeles was auto-reliant. Now a small portion of new development has been working to revitalize a late-19th/early-20th century urban downtown. This is long overdue, and serves a demand for urban living that has been nearly impossible to find in Southern California. Master architect or no, Gehry is wrong, and pedestrian-oriented urbanism continues to be on the rise. As a west-sider, and a member of a previous generation, he appears to hold the same anti-downtown prejudices outlined in Mike Davis’ City of Quartz. Randolph Ruiz Principal, AAA Architecture San Francisco
Ken Price’s colorful, sensual ceramic sculptures have always posed the question as to whether they are art or craft. But the blur may also include the architectonic. His signature forms—cups and eggs—set up a tension between exterior and interior. New York Times art critic Roberta Smith has written: "Their forms oscillated between the biomorphic and the geometric, the geological and the architectural." Price’s friend, Frank Gehry, designed the installation of the exhibition, Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective, currently on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through September 22. He lives with Price’s ceramics, his first purchase being a cup festooned with snails. Gehry wrote of Price’s work, "They were like buildings." He cited a cup with a twisted piece at the top, and sees the similarity to his California Aerospace Museum, 1982-84, featuring an airplane jutting out of the structure. "I think the similarity of form was totally unconscious. Now I think a lot of architects must have been looking at those cups…the relationships are amazing." The relationship was probably both ways. The catalogue makes compelling visual analogies between Price’s Untitled (Slate Cup) from 1972-77 with Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater; the blocky orange flats perched on yellow sides of Hawaiian from 1980, are compared with cliffside pueblo dwelling (both have small dark cutout “windows” set into rectangles) as well as OMA’s Seattle Public Library. Think of the openings into his sculptural forms, whether small or large, as the mysterious entrance to a darkened, monumental temple. With Price, scale is relative—Price quoted artist Joseph Cornell, whose boxes he admired: “Tiny is the last refuge of the enormous.” Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave., through September 22.
Writer Anne Taylor Fleming recently interviewed Frank Gehry for Los Angeles Magazine, getting a glimpse into what the architect thinks about Los Angeles and the meaning of his work there. Gehry tells Fleming about some of the missed planning and architectural opportunities that continue to challenge the city, including the push to make a bona fide downtown, which he believes stems from clinging to old ideas about what a city should be. For Gehry, a Los Angeles version of a “center” is something like Wilshire Boulevard. “I have always thought that L.A. is a motor city that developed linear downtowns,” he noted. It’s for this reason he feels Disney Hall would have been better positioned in Westwood and the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels near MacArthur Park. He’s a believer of putting the architecture where the people are. Gehry would have also put MOCA across the street from LACMA. “Los Angeles doesn’t take architecture seriously,” he told the magazine, “though I guess you could say that about most cities.” Despite this, he is positive about his role as an architect and the impact he has had here. “I’m happy. I mean, Disney Hall is once in a lifetime. Are you kidding? I could go to the moon and forget it all.”
Frank Gehry's design for the four-acre Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial in Washington D.C. has sparked controversy for its departure from traditional memorial design around the National Mall from the president's family and others, prompting a third-party design competition and calls for redesign from Congress. Now the beleaguered memorial is one step closer to reality as the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) voted 3-to-1 this month to approve an updated design with additional changes to proposed woven-metal tapestries that have generated most of the public outcry. Besides the tapestries, Gehry's design has been criticized for its scale and the presentation of the president's humble Midwestern upbringing. Situated at the base of Capitol Hill across Independence Avenue from the National Air and Space Museum, the contentious design, carrying a $142 million price tag, has undergone several revisions from its original design. The commission asked Gehry to remove two of the tapestries still remaining in the latest layout, a request Gehry was receptive to considering. Other changes reflected in the new memorial include reorienting the center of the public space to create a more-defined alleé directing views to the Capitol building and providing more emphasis to Eisenhower's wartime achievements, such as new quotes from his famous Guildhall Address. The CFA includes new Commissioner Elizabeth Meyer, Vice-Chair Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Alex Krieger, and Edwin Schlossberg. Meyer, the only landscape architect on the commission, held the sole vote against approval of Gehry’s updated design. According to ASLA blog, the Dirt, she was not comfortable approving the design without reviewing it as a complete landscape plan, noting that the success of the memorial is tied to how it operates as a park and that the “architecture of the trees needs more time and refinement.” AECOM is working with Gehry on the memorial's landscape. The revised design now heads to the National Capital Planning Commission for its next approval, but uncertainty remains whether Congress will withhold funding for the $142 million project and force a redesign. Based on past expenditure, legislation to terminate Gehry’s plan, revamp the commission, and select a new design would cost $17 million, according to the Congressional Budgets Office.
In recent interview with the journal Foreign Policy, Frank Gehry held forth on how architecture and democracy don’t really go together. Just too many opinions, you see. “I think the best thing is to have a benevolent dictator—who has taste!” said Gehry. “It’s really hard to get consensus, to have a tastemaker. There is no Robert Moses anymore.” Why was Gehry on FP’s radar in the first place? We’re guessing it was Hillary Clinton’s Gehry name-check in one of her outgoing speeches as Secretary of State. Riffing on how institutions of the future must be dynamic rather than static, the stateswomen stated, “We need a new architecture for this new world, more Frank Gehry than formal Greek.”
Frank Gehry has unveiled renderings of its shortlisted entry for the competition to design the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC), the predestined showstopper of Beijing’s new cultural district. Gehry was shortlisted alongside fellow Pritzker Prize winners Jean Nouvel and Zaha Hadid for the high-profile project. Gehry's submission incorporates transparent cladding, an interior comprised of lofty, geometric courtyards evocative of pagodas and temples, and a layout that would accommodate nearly 12 million annual visitors. [beforeafter] [/beforeafter] In acknowledging the globalization of art and its role in connecting the world’s various cultures, the firm's plans seeks to address the concept of 21st century Chinese architecture. Gehry Partners has created a unique design tailored to the museum’s framework, as the structure will be situated facing the central axis of Olympic Park, over the course of the three competition stages. To convey delicate movement, the firm considered glass as a facade material, and in doing so developed a new material—translucent stone—that grants the building an imperial appearance suitable for a national museum. The translucent stone, which is part of the inventive sustainable facade system that integrates a ventilated airspace, allows the structure to efficiently transform for the seasons, festivals, diverse exhibitions, and as a canvas for artists. The renderings reveal four dispersed entrances at each corner and expose a structure that can accommodate a record number of visitors. A formal entry resembling a Chinese temple is positioned in the center of the west facade. The interiors are organized around large public spaces linked vertically by escalators. Visible only from the inside, the spaces are inspired by temples and establish a proper connection between the shapes of the building facade and the interior. The project is currently part of Los Angeles' Museum of Contemporary Art exhibition called A New Sculpturalism: Contemporary Architecture from Southern California.
Follow the Architecture Chicago Plus blog as Lynn Becker raises an eyebrow at the new sculpture that quietly popped up in the lobby of downtown Chicago’s celebrated Inland Steel Building. The 1957 SOM icon seems to have acquired a consortium of ice hunks, courtesy Frank Gehry. Ostensibly a formal counterpoint to the elegant energy of Richard Lippold’s Radiant I, the original lobby art, Gehry’s glass agglomeration (fabricated by the John Lewis Glass Studio of Oakland, California) frames Radiant I and responds to its angularity with carved blobs. It’s admittedly atypical in the setting of the modernist masterpiece, but doesn’t overpower the space or the original artwork.